Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Of Garci, Hats and Mattanza

Garcillano is finally appearing at Congress. Before this much "awaited" appearance we were treated to a display of the former comelec commissioner's hat fashion. Each time he appeared on TV he wore a distinct hat. The first time it was a muslim scarf, then it was, a tubao-cap, then it was some sort of fishing hat, and come Wednesday what will it be a ten-gallon hat? A buri hat? Maybe its a signalling system of sorts. Who knows. What to expect from tomorrow's hearing? I figure nothing really. Maybe its going to be a Mattanza. This is Robert Gangi's definition of a Mattanza here is a link to the article.
For hundreds of years, fishermen in Sicily and Sardinia have used dense nets to capture the Mediterranean bluefin tuna (thunnus thinnus) in a quasi-spiritual procedure known as the mattanza. This takes place in May and June, when the giant fish swim past the coasts. In Sicily, the few remaining mattanzas take place off the island's western point among the Egadi Islands. The term "mattanza" comes to us from an old Spanish word, matar, meaning "to kill." Many terms, such as rais (head fisherman of the mattanza), are actually Arabic in origin, introduced in the ninth century when, during the Arab domination of Sicily, the technique became popular. There are indications, however, that it is much older, possibly originating, in some form, in the Phoenician or Carthaginian era...The keys to a successful mattanza, apart from the obvious questions of supply (overfishing has reduced the number of larger tuna in recent years) and weather, are organisation and technique. A series of vast nets are lowered into the water. The tuna are captured in successive nets which are gradually restricted in size and raised toward the surface, where the fish are attacked with what might be described as large spears in a sophisticated trap system.
Gangi discusses further...
The network of net chambers is called an isola (island). One of the interesting things about the mattanza is the team effort of the numerous fishermen involved in each catch. From his boat, the rais directs the work of the men in the other small boats. Because a mattanza is the catch of an entire school of fish, dozens of tuna may be captured. The ambience of bloody water and particularly large fish, which may be compared to cattle or large game, leaves one with a singular impression. There's nothing like watching the fish struggle as they are herded into ever smaller, shallower net chambers (the final one is called the "chamber of death") and finally lifted onto the boats. Indeed, the term mattanza has found its way into the Italian vernacular as a synonym for "massacre."
So who is going to be part of the mattanza? Who will be the hunter and who will be the prey? Will it be the political leaders or political followers? At this point this excercise seem futile and will probably result in a political mattanza that will greatly affect people who have based their stand on OPO (Other People's Opinion) and who have placed their salvation in political leaders. I would not rally behind political strawmen nor political straw causes. It would be as useful as cupping a corpse. An Additional Post For Today Cubao: The Sun Setting


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